Letta government survives confidence motion with support of new party
The Italian government led by Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s Democratic Party survived a no-confidence motion against the 2014 Budget in the Senate or upper house last night. The result was a comfortable win with the government taking 171 votes to 135.
The comfortable majority comes after a series of events over the weekend that make it look like the government will survive longer than many had expected.
The centre-right party led by Silvio Berlusconi decided to leave the coalition government over the weekend and at the same time renamed their People of freedom (PdL) party back to its original name of Forza Italia (“Go Italy”). At the same time Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano, a former protégé of Berlusconi decided to split from the new/old party and has created a new party, The New Center-Right (Nuovo Centrodestra, NCD) which will remain part of Letta’s government.
As yet it is unclear how many members The New Center-Right will finally be able to command in the Italian parliament but they are claiming that they have 29 members of the lower house or Chamber of Deputies and 30 members of the upper house or Senate. That should give the Letta government 383 of 630 seats in the lower house and a tighter but manageable 169 of 315 Senators in the upper house.
Meanwhile, today the Senate will finally get around to deciding if it intends to expel Silvio Berlusconi from the Senate. All the signs are that the government will have the support of the Five Star Movement (M5S) which means he is likely to go.